U.S. Attorney’s Office Announces Findings Of Investigation Concerning Tribal Ranger-Involved Shooting On Southern Ute Indian Reservation
Tribal Ranger’s actions justified as self-defense
DURANGO (STL.News) After a thorough investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado has concluded that there is no legal basis to pursue federal criminal charges against a Southern Ute Tribal Ranger who fatally shot George Sands on November 24, 2020, on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation because the Tribal Ranger’s actions were justified under the legal doctrine of self-defense. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the decision today, after notifying the family of Mr. Sands.
“The loss of any life is tragic. And when it comes at the hands of law enforcement, the FBI and my office are committed to thoroughly investigating and reviewing such incidents,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “Here, the evidence demonstrates that the Tribal Ranger’s actions were clearly justified under the self-defense doctrine. We appreciate the public’s patience while we investigated this matter and its understanding that, during the pendency of an investigation, we are limited by both ethical and legal considerations as to what information we can release.”
In this matter, both the location of the shooting on tribal land and the identity of one of the parties as an Alaskan Native gave the United States exclusive jurisdiction to consider whether federal criminal charges were appropriate.